Intelsat to extend life of four satellites by 2027

Luxembourg-based satellite operator Intelsat has made a fourth order from Northrop Grumman Corporation’s SpaceLogistics for a Mission Extension Pod (MEP) which will extend the life of its satellites.

Intelsat had previously ordered for a single MEP in April 2023 and two Mission Extension Vehicles (MEVs) already in service with Intelsat satellites.

The MEP “jet pack” will be installed by SpaceLogistics’ mission robotic vehicle (MRV) on an unidentified Intelsat satellite operating in geosynchronous orbit. The MEP is designed to the extend the life of the satellite for at least six years beginning as early as 2026.  Both MEP and MRV have completed critical design reviews, are in assembly and testing, and are proceeding toward launch.

The purchase follows SpaceLogistics’ MEV-1  first-ever in-orbit commercial spacecraft docking with Intelsat 901 (IS-901) in 2020 which extended the its life for another five years. In 2021, a second MEV-2 began providing similar life-extension services for Intelsat 10-02.

“Intelsat is the industry leader in space sustainability and SpaceLogistics is a vital part of that,” said Intelsat chief technology officer, Bruno Fromont. “We continue to look for ways to provide the best services to our customers as well as remain good stewards of the space environment. This commitment continues to build our unique self-insurance capabilities in space and is another step towards unlocking the potential of future in-orbit service applications.”

“With the sale to Intelsat of a second MEP, we continue to build on our long-standing relationship that includes over five years of in-space servicing provided by our two Mission Extension Vehicles,” said SpaceLogistics President, Rob Hauge.

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